My journey as a newbee - to be continued

After receiving my FH2+ a few weeks ago and painting it with a stain/glaze specifically made for beehives, I received my first colony today consisting of about eight frames of brood, honey and pollen, a drone frame(?) and an empty one of my FH frames with just the wooden strip to fill the empty slot

They are a Buckfast breed (Apis mellifera buckfast) and the queen mated at a special mating station (I only know the German word, but I think that’s what you’d call it). I’ve yet to learn more about it, but it seems to be an area with very selected colonies that have a high resilience against Varroa. There is a restricted area around those colonys of 7 km diameter where no other beekeeping stations are allowed.

The queen is marked with a yellow chip (2022) and a number by the previous beekeeper.

To transport them in my car I used the FH2+ base, a brood box with the frames I moved over from the beekeeper’s box, the inner cover and two 25mm wide tension straps - which I checked probably a dozen times before I drove off.

I tried to give them a smooth ride and avoided any abrupt accelerations or turns, but hit a small pothole at one point that - as my passengers immediately let me know with an increasing buzz - they did not like.

After arriving at their new place at about 20:30 in the evening, I removed the straps, added the roof and opened the entrance so they can go and start to explore their new neighborhood tomorrow morning.

The colony is already pretty strong according to the beekeeper, so I’ll try and add the excluder and FH super tomorrow early afternoon if the weather permits and after they’ve hopefully calmed down from the move.


The beekeeper told me to remove food frames from the brood box since it will contain sugar from feeding them. He mentioned that they might transfer the sugar to the super otherwise. I will have to ask him if I should do so immediately or after a few days since the bees require some food to wax the FH cells? They also should have some stored until they’ve found food sources in their new area? As a newbie I am not sure how much they need and of course I don’t want to starve them.

I also need to ask him about the drone frame. After thinking about it, I am confused because he said letting them draw comb naturally will result in a lot of drones, but on the other hand he added a specific drone one?


Of course I got my first little sting on the chin right before we started to suit up and before any boxes were opened… I’m not sure if I was lucky or if I had removed the stinger quickly enough (if that’s a thing), but even after a while there is no sign of a reaction, just a little itch when touch the area - so I don’t. :wink:

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interesting. It surprises me that you will be putting a slow super on so soon, but you do have a large nucleus, for sure. I had a colony which never took to the plastic frames and so I rubbed bees wax into the frames in order to encourage them up - that was for my third attempt! I bought a 1 kg beeswax bar and used a hair dryer to melt it and then rub it over each frame. The point I am making is you can help yourself, certainly with a colony that is new to your environment (and, more specifically, to plastic flow frames) by giving them a little help. Just my penny’s worth. I am new too - this is my third year…and the first year where they appear to be comfortable in the super. My bees are the iberian kind, Good luck

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Bingo. I’d leave the feed in place and maybe wait on supering, even though they’re a strong colony already. Let them acclimate for a week or so.


Forget the super till they have the brood box built out, they would probably ignore it anyway. Leave the food with them , they will probably use most of it to get going. Don’t worry about the drone brood, they will emerge and the bees will probably fill that frame with nectar/honey.

Give them time to settle before playing with them too much.


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The brood box is more or less built out besides the drone frame and the one empty frame from my FH2. All of the other frames were full of bees too. The cells were a nice (in my newbee opinion) mix of eggs, larvae and capped, so they should be increasing in numbers pretty quick.

But the weather forecast doesn’t look good for the next 2-3 days anyway. Lots of rain, wind around 25km/h and temps between 3-10°C. So I guess it might be a good idea to give them a few more days anyway.

Quick update:

I did a quick inspection together with a coworker last Friday afternoon since we finally had some nicer weather without rain. The brood box was quite crowded and since the sugary food frame only had a smaller patch left we decided to just add the divider and the super on top.

The virgin FH2 frame with only the wooden strip and no foundation already had fresh wax comb about the size of my palm which suprised me a little. I did not expect them to build that fast.

This monday I sat to the side of the entrance a bit to watch them go in and out. It was a lot more busy than what’s shown in the video, but I couldn’t see big pollen bags on their legs. I am not sure if they are bringing in nektar instead and how to identify that?

I didn’t bring my beekeeper jacket or gloves, so I thought I’d just take off the roof and cover to look inside the super, but there was not much going on there. I could maybe see a handful of bees. But since it was only a few days, I thought I’d give them a little longer to find the place…

We have a few strips of wax foundation that were left over from making frames for other hives, so perhaps I should just give them another week and try to just push a few of those onto the FH frames?

I probably should just be a little more patient and see what they are doing, but it is so exciting :slight_smile:

It skipped the inspection yesterday, because I felt it was quite cold and windy. They were pretty active though, so I took another slow motion video.

It’s fun to watch them crash land on the landing pad :slight_smile:

They seem to be bringing lots of pollen already. And I find it interesting that quite a lot seem to like to crawl up the side first before launching.

Today I attended a small talk about American foulbrood. A local beekeeper explained how to take samples, where to have them analyzed and how to do checks yourself.

One thing I learned was that they can catch it not only through contact with other bees, but by bringing in honey humans threw away for example. Here in Germany, we collect glass for recycling and if people bring honey glasses because they think it’s over shelf life or did not clean them, bees might find it, collect the honey and bring it to the colony. Since AFB spores can survive harsh environments they might just bring it with them.

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Now that we had the first few days of sun and the bees were really busy I can see them running on all the FH2+ in my super.

There’s not much to see in the cells yet, but when I took the center one out a few days ago it looked like they started to complete the structure. At least the middle/bottom part looked different when the sun shined through.

I watched them come and go from the landing board today which was really crowded, when I noticed one or two bigger bees walking around. Then I realized the big eyes and thought, they must be drones.


It’s been a few days and I have to report that my side windoes don’t look that busy anymore…

It seems like a big part of my colony swarmed a little less a few days ago. I tried to convince them to stay by removing all the swarm cells I could find in my weekly inspections and give them something to do by replacing a drone frame with an empty one, but it didn’t help. Either I have missed a swarm cell or they didn’t want to stay for some other reason.

Comparing my observation window with what we can see in the HF live feeds, it did not seem like they were too crowded in there?

Either way, I am now waiting to see if they were able to raise a new queen and if she was able to mate. Sadly, I am not around until Friday to check the frames for eggs or larvae, but from what I’ve learned, it takes a few days anyway for her to “settle in”.

I’m back and even though I didn’t have time to do an inspection yet I wanted to share two pictures I forgot last week.

The first is for a bee feeder / watering station I 3D printed from karosass1’s design on Printables. I have not seen any bees using it, but we probably had enough rain for them to find other sources - on the other hand it’s half empty now :wink:

The second picture is a shot through one of my side windows. I liked that you can see the wax bridges the bees build to close the Flow Hive cells:

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